‘It starts with hope’: Indigenous Affairs Minister announces funding for Ontario First Nations children

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has announced $9.11 million to help Ontario First Nations raise children in healthy and safe environments.

“It starts with hope,” Bennett said during a visit on Thursday to Sudbury, Ont. “There is now a priority established to keep kids in their communities.”

The indicator of the funding’s success will be having less First Nations children in the protection system, according to Bennett. 

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee called the announcement “welcome news.”

‘We want to build the autonomy of First Nations’

“It’s always the case that First Nations have do a $500 job with $200,” Madahbee said.

“At the end of the day, we always say ‘what’s in the best interest of the child?'”

Eligible First Nations will start receiving the money on April 1, and Bennett said they can spend it on their own terms.

“A lot of people felt that when prevention dollars were going into agencies that somehow that ends up with lawyers,” Bennet said. 

“We want to build the autonomy of First Nations.”

‘Empower healing at the First Nation level’

It is important for funds that are directed towards preventing children from entering child and family services to be community-driven, according to Denise Morrow, the executive director of Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services.

“Although our child-welfare model is community-based, working with our First Nations, hand-and-hand in relation to joint service planning and delivery, the resources at the First Nation level to prevent that child welfare referral have been minimal,” Morrow said.

“Families continue to struggle with many areas in relation to mental health, addictions and overall well-being.

“It’s positive news for the First Nations to be able to now implement some of the programs and services that are needed to support families, and empower healing at the First Nation level,” she said.

Pallister eyes scaling back refugee support as tiff with Ottawa festers

Premier Brian Pallister said the province might have to scale back the number of government-funded refugees it welcomes to Manitoba in order to fund the growing number of asylum seekers crossing into the province.

Pallister estimates the province will spend over $20 million this year on refugees, but said that is not nearly enough to accommodate the roughly 1,200 asylum seekers the province predicts will cross over from the United States into Manitoba.

“At some point, resources are just so stretched that you are not doing anyone a favour by bringing them into a situation where resources are being made available to others, and are diminished for them,” Pallister said in an interview Thursday.

“We are stepping up on this side more than anyone else and there is pressure, and something has to give here.”

He noted, for example, the province has agreed to host 300 more Syrian refugees this year. Half of those refugees have already come to Manitoba, but Pallister says the province might not be able to afford to bring in the rest. 

The border town of Emerson, Man., has turned into one of three major entry points for asylum seekers coming into Canada unofficially. Official figures from the federal government show 195 crossed into Manitoba in the first two months of this year, compared to 575 for all of 2016.

Greg Janzen, reeve of Emerson, told CBC News last week he estimates the number for this year is likely well over 300.

Pallister repeated his assertion that the federal government needs to step up and offer more financial assistance for the growing crisis. He scoffed at the recent commitment by the Trudeau Liberals in the 2017-18 budget, which extended a commitment for immigration and refugee legal aid across the country, but only increased the figure by $2.7 million. 

“It is not being adequately addressed by the federal government, while Manitobans are doing the lion’s share of the heavy lifting,” he said.

‘Don’t threaten us,’ Pallister tells Ottawa 

Manitoba’s reluctance to sign a federal health-transfer deal continues to foster ill-will between the two governments.

Pallister isn’t buying assertions from two federal cabinet ministers, and now the prime minister, that the Factory of the Future is coming to Manitoba.

The high-tech research facility was promised by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper and was re-confirmed by the current Liberal government.

Pallister says the promise to build the facility in Manitoba should never have wound its way into negotiations over health funding, and Trudeau’s words are not enough.

“One can say they are supportive of Factory of the Future and not commit to Manitoba’s component, and I need to have a commitment in writing from the prime minister that takes the threat off the table, and I don’t think that’s asking too much,” Pallister said.

Justin Trudeau in Winnipeg

During a stop in Winnipeg Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked directly if the Factory of the Future research facility was coming to Manitoba. His answer was ‘yes.’ (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Manitoba’s premier says he watched Trudeau comment on the Factory of the Future at a stop in Winnipeg yesterday. Trudeau was asked directly if the research facility was coming to Manitoba, and his answer was “yes.”

But Pallister says words are not enough.

“I’m glad you got that answer. I still need it in writing … if it is on and that is the correct answer, what’s the hesitation in putting it in writing?”

No deal in sight

Pallister says he’s “excited to finalize a health-care agreement with Ottawa” now that he knows financial assistance for home and mental health care have been assured to all provinces.

But the premier says there are still negotiations to be completed on opioid treatment, health programs for Indigenous people and an outstanding bill to the feds for northern medical transfers that Manitoba maintains is at $37.7 million. 

RCMP appeals decision in officer’s bullying lawsuit

The RCMP is appealing the judgment in a recent bullying lawsuit where the judge called the Mounties’ behaviour “outrageous.”

In documents filed with the Ontario Court of Appeal, the national police force alleges the trial judge made a host of errors when she handed down her ruling earlier this month.

Justice Mary Vallee ordered the RCMP to pay Sgt. Peter Merrifield $41,000 in lost wages for delayed advancement, and $100,000 in general damages for workplace “harassment and intentional infliction of mental suffering.”

The judge also criticized the RCMP for its failure to comply with disclosure requirements, found the reasons given for the late production of officers’ notes “dubious,” and questioned the credibility of some of the senior officers’ testimony at the trial, which was heard in Newmarket, Ont., over 13 months.

In its notice of appeal, RCMP lawyers dispute just about every one of Vallee’s findings.

The RCMP submits, among other things, that the judge was mistaken when she found the force’s conduct was flagrant and outrageous or caused harm or any visible and provable illness. The Mounties also argue Vallee was wrong to find Merrifield suffered from severe depression and should never have called RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to testify.

The trial featured testimony from Paulson who, at an earlier Senate committee hearing, was publicly dismissive of Merrifield’s bullying claims and portrayed the sergeant as someone more concerned with setting up an RCMP union than doing police work.

“Some people’s ambitions exceed their abilities,” the commissioner told Senators at the time.

Bob Paulson 20131203

RCMP lawyers argue in their appeal filing that the judge should never have called Commissioner Bob Paulson to testify in the lawsuit. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Merrifield is now a senior member of the National Police Federation, one of the two main groups seeking to certify the first-ever union for Mounties.

Claims he was bullied for decade

Merrifield launched the lawsuit after claiming RCMP brass harassed him when he ran for the Conservative Party nomination in Barrie in 2005.

Over 12 years though, and in the face of positive performance reviews, the judge found Merrifield was wrongly accused of misusing his RCMP credit card and purposefully isolated at work.

She said high-ranking officers should have acted on Merrifield’s complaints of harassment and investigated his reports that one of his workplace tormentors had been arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked if, in the wake of Vallee’s ruling, he still had confidence in Commissioner Paulson.

“I — we all — are agreed, including Commissioner Paulson, but certainly everyone in this government, that harassment is unacceptable,” Trudeau told reporters.

Paulson has announced his intention to retire from the force in June.

Key member of Calgary jihadist cluster revealed for 1st time

CBC News has learned the full name and identity of another key member of a cluster of Calgarians who left to wage jihad in Syria and Iraq in late 2012.

Waseem Alhaj Youcef’s name is being fully revealed for the first time, based on documents obtained by the CBC and sources, including some who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

CBC has learned that Youcef was killed fighting for ISIS. 

Although not much else is known about him, CBC has learned that Youcef too lived in a now infamous apartment building in downtown Calgary to which the 8th and 8th mosque is attached.

In fact, he was roommates with a Canadian-born Muslim convert who was killed while fighting with al-Qaeda-linked forces in Syria.

The 8th and 8th mosque, CBC reported Thursday, is to close its doors on Friday — a move that Imam Navaid Aziz says is a relief to his community, eager to leave a place that had become synonymous with radicalization.

​The mosque is administered by the Islamic Information Society of Calgary.

But unknown to the imam and the administration at the mosque, the aspiring jihadists were meeting secretly for months in a flat above the prayer hall or in one of the many apartments they rented in the building.

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Calgarian Salman Ashrafi, shown in a ‘martyr’s notice’ released by ISIS, was a suicide bomber in a 2013 attack that killed 46 people in Iraq. (Twitter)

One of them, Salman Ashrafi, was a University of Lethbridge graduate who had held jobs with big energy firms like Talisman. He lived with his wife in the apartment building before he left Canada in late 2012. A year later, he blew himself up in a suicide mission in Iraq, killing 46 people.

The Gordon brothers, Gregory and Collin, also rented a room in the same highrise. They were killed fighting in Syria in December 2014.

Tamim Chowdhury, an ISIS commander in Bangladesh, also lived for some time in the same building. Chowdhury grew up in Windsor, Ont., and graduated with a chemistry degree before moving to Calgary to find work.

Before he was killed in a shoot-out with Bangladeshi security forces in August 2016, he had left a trail of blood and devastation in the country.

For a short period of time, his friend from Windsor, Ahmad Waseem, also lived in the same Calgary apartment building before also joining jihadists in Syria.

Mustafa al-Gharib

Mustafa al-Gharib, born in Nova Scotia as Damian Clairmont, was killed while fighting with al-Qaeda linked rebels in Syria. He shared an apartment with Waseem Alhaj Youcef. (Facebook)

And of course there was Damian Clairmont, who was born in Nova Scotia but took on the name Mustafa al-Gharib​ after converting to Islam in his teens. The 22-year-old left Calgary for Syria in November 2012 and was killed by Free Syrian Army forces during rebel infighting.

But before he left, he co-leased a room in the 8th and 8th highrise. His roommate, it turns out, was none other than Youcef.

Men prayed, played and studied together

The men were described by sources in the community as being close-knit. They met often, sharing meals with each other and praying together. They often played sports and went on hiking trips together, CBC has learned.

A resident of the apartment building who attended some of their study sessions told CBC News they spent a great deal of time poring over obscure Islamic texts in Arabic and discussing medieval fatwas — religious rulings — about the permissibility and impermissibility of Muslims living as minorities in non-Muslim lands.   

Clairmont’s mother, Christianne Boudreau, says her son left Calgary in November 2012 for Syria.

Youcef left sometime in January 2013, says Boudreau.

Shortly after the men had left, Boudreau says police called her by accident, saying they were trying to contact Youcef, but they were reading her son’s information.

“I was listed as the emergency contact,” said Boudreau, who later launched an effort to help families de-radicalize other young men and women before they’re lost like her son to the clutches of extremism.

“I told them he [Youcef] was likely off in Syria like Damian, and they were really confused by that.”

Members of the Muslim community who didn’t want to be named said Youcef was of Palestinian background and did not have family members or relatives in Calgary.


Author bios:

Nazim Baksh and Devin Heroux CBC

Nazim Baksh, left, is an investigative producer with CBC News based in Toronto. He has won numerous awards over the years for his work on The National, The Fifth Estate and the CBC’s documentary unit among more. Devin Heroux, right, reports for CBC News and Sports. He’s now based in Toronto, after working for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon. (CBC)

Ontario premier vows to defend against ‘Buy America’ efforts

Despite growing U.S. support for Buy America policies, Premier Kathleen Wynne has vowed to fight for Ontario jobs by lobbying with her political counterparts across the border.

Wynne made the comments Thursday after a roundtable meeting with economic development leaders in Windsor, Ont. Her visit also included a multi-million dollar announcement of provincial and federal funding for Ford Motor Company of Canada at the Essex Engine Plant.

The premier said the link between the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the competitiveness of the province, particularly southern Ontario, was the main focus of the meeting. She also heard many concerns about cross-border movement becoming more difficult in recent months.

Brad Duguid and Kathleen Wynne

During a visit in Windsor, Ont. Thursday, Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, alongside Premier Kathleen Wynne, talks about importance of maintaining trade with New York State. (Derek Spalding/CBC)

Wynne said she and her team are reaching out to political and business leaders in New York to reinforce the importance of trade between the two regions.

“Always in these kinds of negotiations, there’s the dangers of unintended consequences,” Wynne said of the Buy America policies. “We’re looking to make it very clear how important the Ontario Market is to New York and vice versa.” 

Buy America hurts everyone

Buy America policies will only hurt businesses in both New York and in Ontario, said Brad Duguid, the province’s minister of economic development.

Standing next to Wynne after the meeting, Duguid reinforced the premier’s message, stressing the importance of maintaining trade with U.S. partners.

“We’ve collectively worked too hard to see some of the risks involved in some of the issues south of the border take that away,” he said. “There is an enlightened self interest for … our U.S. neighbours to ensure we have an unfettered border.”

Standing alongside Stephen MacKenzie, CEO of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation, Wynne said she also heard plenty of discussion about new challenges people are having crossing the border, something she promised to bring up with her American counterparts.

Choosing a border city like Windsor as the site for the latest roundtable discussion was important, MacKenzie told journalists after the meeting.

Premier Wynne also talked about the confidence investors are showing in Windsor after many years of economic recession and thousands of lost jobs, the majority of which coming from manufacturing and more specifically the auto sector.

“Windsor is a great success story,” Wynne said, referring to the importance of investing in the Essex Engine Plant. “Five years ago the pundits and the prophets were saying the plant was dead — this region was not coming back as an auto powerhouse, but that’s just not the case.”

Lack of gender diversity at Junos a sign of bigger issues in Canadian music

Alysha Brilla wasn’t surprised by the lack of female representation when this year’s Juno Awards nominees were announced.

Years ago, the Waterloo, Ont.-based musician and producer decided to conduct an experiment. She carefully tabulated the gender diversity among Juno nominees and found there wasn’t much at all, particularly in the technical categories, which were completely dominated by men.

After scrolling through this year’s list of contenders she concluded little has changed.

“I don’t want to see women take over the industry. I want to see a balance,” says Brilla, a two-time Juno nominee for best adult contemporary album.

“[But] there’s a lot of resistance,” she adds, “mainly from folks who don’t think there’s a problem in the first place.”

Brilla points to data that shows only four women have won the producer award in the 45 years that Junos have been handed out; the engineer prize has never gone to a woman.

Among this year’s nominees selected by CARAS members in categories that aren’t based on sales, the figures show a stark disparity.

Album categories including country, adult alternative, francophone, classical, contemporary Christian, rap, R&B/soul and reggae all only have one female nominee each. Both the engineer and producer of the year categories don’t have a single female nominee.

‘Why aren’t things shifting?’

When Brilla raised the issue with Junos brass in the past the response she got shocked her.

Representatives said better diversity at the Junos would only happen if more women became members of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS).

“The woman on the phone said to me, ‘We don’t have a lot of female voters so if you could find us some, that would be great,”‘ Brilla remembers.

“So I went out and did the work. I solicited every woman I knew who was technically qualified — who works in the industry. I asked artist friends, asked production friends and brought back a couple to them.”

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She waited until the next year to see if her efforts made a difference in the list of Juno nominees. They didn’t, she says.

“A lot of people in the industry would say that everything is fine. You work hard and get where you want to be,” Brilla says.

“To some extent that’s true … but I’m a very rare example of a woman in the industry who has the platform to voice these feelings. Why aren’t things shifting?”

A wider industry problem

In February, Tegan and Sara published an open letter drawing attention to this year’s lack of female nominees and urged the industry to more actively consider women for technical jobs.

Allan Reid, president of CARAS and the Junos, phoned the sisters upon hearing their concerns. He encouraged them to become CARAS members and Junos voters.

Sara Quin says the conversation motivated her to write letters to about 250 women in the industry. She plans to urge them to pay the CARAS membership fee, vote and “get more involved.”

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It’s an initiative that sounds familiar to other prominent musicians.

“I did exactly what Sara did — last year,” says Amy Millan, a member of Broken Social Scene and Stars.

“I wrote [Sarah] Harmer, Sarah Slean and Jenn Grant and I wrote all these women and said, ‘Are you a member of CARAS?’ Most of them came back and they said, ‘No, because what’s the point?”‘

#JunosSoMale

Millan doesn’t exactly blame the Junos, but she doesn’t think it’s helping matters either.

She believes the awards show is emblematic of a bigger problem plaguing Canada’s music industry and that women aren’t getting a fair shake.

“[The Junos] are the period at the end of the sentence,” she says.

Last year, Millan drew attention to a lack of women among the 2016 Juno nominees with the Twitter hashtag #JunosSoMale, a nod to the #OscarsSoWhite movement. It was quickly embraced by other musicians including electro-pop singer Grimes, who is nominated this year for three Junos including alternative album.

“I did not expect it to garner nationwide attention,” Millan says. “It opened a floodgate of questions for all of us.”

Her move also pushed the Junos to respond, with the organization’s president saying the Junos are only mirroring the broader music industry.

“We simply reflect what comes to us, what’s submitted,” Reid says.

Putting the blame on CARAS voters doesn’t necessarily make sense either. Overall its membership is 42 per cent female, he notes.

Instead, the problem is reflected more clearly in who submits their work to the Junos, Reid argues.

MUSIC Junos Indigenous Album 20170111

Juno president and CEO Allan Reid, seen in Hamilton, Ont. in 2015, has said the problem is not with the awards show, but with the wider Canadian music industry. ‘We simply reflect what comes to us, what’s submitted.’ (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

This year, only nine women put their names in for producer of the year among 118 contenders, he says. That’s little changed from last year when women represented seven of 119 submissions, either solo or as part of a team.

Winners for the production category are voted on by active members of the Canadian music producer community who are also CARAS members.

Reid believes there are bigger questions surrounding why more women don’t submit to the technical categories.

“Women aren’t getting into these fields,” he says.

“I don’t have the answer to that question of, ‘Why don’t women want to sit inside the studio for 10 to 12 hours without a window?’ Maybe, I don’t know, some of them just don’t want to do that.”

Brilla scoffs at the sentiment that women aren’t interested in technical work. She believes responsibility lies with the music industry, which she says does little to encourage young women to pursue fields traditionally reserved for men.

In high school, she enrolled in a recording studio co-op that left her feeling like the “weird one.” When she looked around the industry for female production mentors, she found there were hardly any.

“Women aren’t making money behind the scenes,” she says. “They’re often the ones simply fronting the whole operation.”

A transitional period

Hill Kourkoutis, a Toronto-based producer, takes a more optimistic outlook on the industry.

While she used to frequently encounter people shocked to learn she worked behind a mixing console, she’s finding that sentiment is slowly changing.

“I don’t look the type to necessarily geek out over gear,” concedes Kourkoutis. “That’s probably been the hardest thing, being taken seriously.”

‘There is that stigma to overcome, but that’s been experienced in other industries… It’s just a game of catch-up at this point.’ – Hill Kourkoutis, music producer

Over the past few years she says she’s witnessed a spike in the number of young women interested in production and believes it signals a “transitional period” for the industry.

“There is that stigma to overcome, but that’s been experienced in other industries,” says Kourkoutis. “It’s just a game of catch-up at this point.”

Vancouver’s Nimbus School of Recording is an example of where a push for gender diversity appears to be working.

Chief executive Mike Schroeder says they’ve reached out to high schools to encourage more girls to consider music production fields and within their organization have made gender diversity a priority.

Female enrolment hit 20 per cent among its 154 students last year, an increase from seven per cent in 2011, which is progress but shows there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“It takes time to bring gender parity to an industry,” Schroeder says.

“I want to make sure that whatever we do is based on equality and not an artificial program.”

Bombardier under fire for $32.6M US given to executives while taking government cash

Bombardier is being slammed for its “sense of entitlement” after awarding $32.6 million US to senior executives even as it laid off thousands of workers and sought government aid.

The payout represents an increase of nearly 50 per cent for its top five executives and board chairman, compared with 2015.

“At the very least, it demonstrates a rather incredible sense of entitlement, doesn’t it?,” said David Baskin, president at Baskin Wealth Management, a Bay Street investment management firm.

“Here’s a company that basically went begging to the province and the federal government for money, saying that if you don`t give us all this money, we’re going to lay off all these workers.”

The federal government issued a $372.5 million loan last month for the CSeries and Global 7000 programs, while the province recently poured $1 billion US into the CSeries program in exchange for a 49.5 per cent stake. 

The province’s pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt, also bought a 30 per cent stake in the company’s railway division for $1.5 billion US.

‘Lack of judgment’

Baskin told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak that, if he was the federal civil servant who negotiated the terms of the agreement with Bombardier, he would have said, “‘Please don’t embarrass us by raising your pay by 50 per cent after giving you all this money.’ But I guess nobody thought of that.”

The Montreal-based aerospace giant is in the midst of a multi-year plan that has involved mass layoffs as it tries to regain its financial footing. It is eliminating 14,500 jobs around the world by the end of next year.

BOMBARDIER-CSERIES/

A Bombardier worker walks past the CS300 Aircraft last year. The Montreal-based company secured loans from both the federal and provincial government to help with the roll-out of the CSeries jet. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Last year, CEO Alain Bellemare got $9.5 million US, up from $6.4 million US a year earlier. His annual bonus almost doubled to $2.36 million US.

The chief financial officer and heads of business and commercial aircraft each received more than $4 million US, while the head of the railway division’s compensation increased 93 per cent to $4.7 million US.

Michel Nadeau, the head of Quebec’s Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations, is also harshly critical of Bombardier. He went even further than Baskin, saying the executives’ salary increases are unacceptable and should be reversed. 

“I think the Quebec premier and the president of the Caisse de dépôt should call Bombardier and say you should cancel these salary increases. I think it’s a lack of judgment from the board of directors,” Nadeau told CBC.

Bombardier declined a request for an interview, but said in a statement the executive compensation is consistent with what’s seen at other companies.

Couillard defends investment

On Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard tried to deflect questions about the payout, saying the company and its shareholders are ultimately the ones affected.

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Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said the province’s investment in Bombardier is specific to the CSeries jet. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

He said the province’s investment is protected because it’s directed specifically towards the CSeries jet. 

“This is an example that really says to the public and taxpayers, essentially, why we needed to focus and segment our focus on CSeries,” he said. 

“The opposition asked us why we didn’t invest in the company [as a whole]. You have the answer this morning.”

Winnipeg man charged after live stream of sex assault on 6-year-old boy in U.S.

A 45-year-old Winnipeg man faces child exploitation charges after police discovered a live stream of a six-year-old boy being sexually assaulted in the United States.

Greg Alan Jamieson was arrested on Monday and charged with making child pornography, sexual interference and agreeing to or arranging a sexual offence against a child for the purposes of child exploitation and making child pornography.

He was already facing charges of possessing and making child pornography after investigators found child sexual abuse images, involving victims as young as eight months old, at a Winnipeg home in November 2016. Jamieson was detained at the time but later released on bail.

Winnipeg police said investigators with the internet child exploitation unit found the live stream had been established on a “popular instant messaging/live-streaming app” with an “as-of-yet unidentified male suspect” in the U.S.

The person in the U.S. was “directed to commit various sexual assaults against the child” by an individual in Winnipeg, police allege.

Police know little about the victim, but believe the child was six years old and in the care of the American. It’s not known where in the United States the assault took place.

“We know that … investigators here, and our counterparts in the U.S. who are actively working with Winnipeg police, have not been able to identify either … the suspect who’s doing the assaults or the victim at this point in time,” Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver told reporters on Thursday.

“That is still ongoing, which is why we’re still working with U.S. law enforcement, Homeland Security, to see if we can ultimately identify this child and locate them.”

Winnipeg police on child sexual exploitation arrest1:26

App not specified

Police would not specify what app was used in this case, but Carver said people are using popular programs to stream child sexual assaults live.

“The live streaming could be [with] FaceTime, it could be Skype, it could be any number of apps or facilities that allow that type of direct, live communication,” Carver said.

Police said the live stream appears to have taken place before Jamieson’s arrest in November. Investigators found out about it as they continued investigating after his arrest.

Carver said Jamieson was not on police’s radar prior to the investigation, which began after information came in from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the U.S.

‘On-demand sexual abuse’

Live streams of child sexual abuse are on the rise, said Signy Arnason of Cybertip.ca, a child exploitation tip line operated by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Arnason said her organization alone received 50 reports of live streams in 2016-17 — up from 20 in 2015-16.

“It’s a lens into the fact that this is shifting and moving, and this idea of on-demand sexual abuse is something that’s happening among the offending community,” she said.

“They connect within these different forums and chat rooms where individuals reinforce and collaborate and have their cognitive distortions around how this is all OK, and then they move over into Skype or some live streaming function where they can be potentially executing what was occurring to this six-year-old.”

Both Arnason and Carver said child exploitation cases like this are more common than people may think.

“These investigators get these tips … on a daily basis, and it is not uncommon. It is everywhere, it’s in every community. It’s certainly in Winnipeg, which is why we have a team of experts who work in this,” Carver said.

“We know through the experience of the tip line, as well as the child exploitation units across this country, that we’re seeing this happen at an alarming rate in relation to children,” said Arnason.

“So we need the word to get out there that this is happening directly in our communities. It’s not something way off there. It could be someone you know.”

Winnipeg man charged after live stream of sex assault on 6-year-old in U.S.

A 45-year-old Winnipeg man faces child exploitation charges after police discovered a live stream of a six-year-old being sexually assaulted in the United States.

Winnipeg police said investigators with the internet child exploitation unit found a live stream had been established on a “popular instant messaging/live-streaming app” with a man in the U.S., who has yet to be identified.

The U.S. man was “directed to commit various sexual assaults against the child” by a person in Winnipeg, police allege.

The young victim, who also hasn’t been identified, was in the U.S. man’s care, police said.

“We know that … investigators here, and our counterparts in the U.S. who are actively working with Winnipeg police, have not been able to identify either … the suspect who’s doing the assaults or the victim at this point in time,” Winnipeg police Const. Rob Carver told reporters on Thursday.

“That is still ongoing, which is why we’re still working with U.S. law enforcement, Homeland Security, to see if we can ultimately identify this child and locate them.”

App not specified

Police would not specify what app was used in this case, but Carver said people are using popular programs to stream child sexual assaults live.

“The live streaming could be [with] FaceTime, it could be Skype, it could be any number of apps or facilities that allow that type of direct, live communication,” Carver said.

Greg Alan Jamieson, 45, of Winnipeg was arrested on Monday and charged with making child pornography, sexual interference and agreeing to or arranging a sexual offence against a child for the purposes of child exploitation and making child pornography.

He already faces charges of possessing and making child pornography after investigators found child sexual abuse images, involving victims as young as eight months old, at a Winnipeg home in November 2016. He was detained at the time but later released on bail.

Police say the live stream appears to have taken place sometime before Jamieson’s initial arrest in November, but investigators found out about it as they continued investigating after his arrest.

‘On-demand sexual abuse’

Live streams of child sexual abuse are on the rise, said Signy Arnason of Cybertip.ca, a child exploitation tip line operated by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Arnason said her organization alone received 50 reports of live streams in 2016-17 — up from 20 in 2015-16.

“It’s a lens into the fact that this is shifting and moving, and this idea of on-demand sexual abuse is something that’s happening among the offending community,” she said.

“They connect within these different forums and chat rooms where individuals reinforce and collaborate and have their cognitive distortions around how this is all OK, and then they move over into Skype or some live streaming function where they can be potentially executing what was occurring to this six-year-old.”

Both Arnason and Carver said child exploitation cases like this are more common than people may think.

“We know through the experience of the tip line, as well as the child exploitation units across this country, that we’re seeing this happen at an alarming rate in relation to children,” said Arnason.

“So we need the word to get out there that this is happening directly in our communities. It’s not something way off there. It could be someone you know.”

UBC researchers discover marijuana flavour genes, aim to create standards for taste

Consumers can trust what varieties of wine taste like regardless of the store they buy it from, and they could soon have similar expectations for strains of marijuana, say researchers at the University of British Columbia.

Prof. Jörg Bohlmann and a team of researchers have found 30 genes within the cannabis genome that determine the aroma and flavour of the plant.

The findings, published in the journal Plos One, are the first step toward creating flavour standards that can be replicated.

Bohlmann said with the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, there is a real need for standardization of the product when it comes to flavours and the strength of psychoactive compounds.

CANADA-CANNABIS/

With legalization of recreational pot now likely by July 2018, UBC Prof. Jörg Bohlmann says it’s important for the industry to establish reliable flavour standards for consumers. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Right now, he said, although names of strains can somewhat reflect the flavour, consumers can’t be sure what they’re getting.

“This is largely because much of the cannabis industry has been in an illegal space,” said Bohlmann, a professor of forest science and botany. “People have been growing their own different strains wherever, garden sheds or basements.”

Exploring pot’s chemistry

He said standards could be created that follow the wine industry, where the types of grapes and effects of climate and terrain on the crop’s flavour produce specific and replicable varieties of wine.

Researching chemistry behind the flavours of marijuana hasn’t happened largely because of the legal restrictions. Bohlmann said it isn’t easy for researchers to get approval for work with the drug, but he said he hopes that with legalization, the process will be easier to navigate.

Bohlmann collaborated with researchers at the cannabis testing company Anandia Labs to study the flavour-related genes in cannabis.

The 30 genes they found produce molecular compounds called terpenes that create specific flavours, such as lemon or pine. Terpenes can also be found in other plants and essential oils. Not all 30 genes are active in every cannabis plant, resulting in variations.

Making flavour ‘music’

Bohlmann likened the genes to musicians in an orchestra.

“Think of all the marvellous music you can create and all the variations you can create with 30 individual musicians that you can individually call up or play all together,” he said.

More research is underway to determine subsets within the 30 genes and compare different strains to figure out how and why they are activated.

“What we know now (is) who are all the players in the symphony orchestra, but we don’t quite know yet what everyone exactly does,” he said. “And now we need to find out who is actually the conductor and how is the conductor working with his orchestra in terms of calling up one of the players and leaving others more in the background.”

Once those details are determined, he said it can inform the varieties and practices plant breeders use in the future.